Thanksgiving is extra special when you give to others
Grocery shopping during November raises stress levels in many residents as they prepare for their perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
After talking to 1st Sgt. Windy Cox of Beale Air Force Base, I realize most residents have it easy.
While many of us go all out shopping for our one annual Thanksgiving dinner, Cox and her Bayside Lincoln Church members collected enough Thanksgiving items the first three weeks in November to donate to 67 Beale Air Force families.
The church’s Thanksgiving food drive included all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast and were delivered Friday by Cox to recipients.
The church provided mashed potatoes, yams, pumpkin cans, cookie mixes, cake mixes, cranberries, green beans and onions for 67 family dinners. An anonymous donor from Beale Air Force Base provided the turkeys.
“Lincoln Bayside Church is supplying baskets for those families who have members deployed or could use the extra help. A lot of it is for single-source-income families,” Cox said. “These families could use the extra help during this holiday.”
Last year, the church delivered Thanksgiving meal items to The Salt Mine’s food closet. This year, according to Bayside Lincoln Church member Connie Roberts, Cox asked her church if they could donate food to the families of airmen.
“We did it for the freedom they represent to us as a community. Thanksgiving is always about families,” Roberts said. “It’s so hard to have a family member deployed. I bet the holidays are hard for them.”
Cox picked up the donations last Thursday from the church office on Nicolaus Road. About 250 members participated in the food drive.
“I wanted to cry. I’m a military person. I love helping my airmen,” Cox said. “To know that the community also wants to help our airman makes my heart go good.”
This Thanksgiving, Cox is giving thanks to Bayside Lincoln.
“Bayside Lincoln has really become my family. I’m used to the military being my family. Words can’t explain how it makes me feel to be a part of Bayside,” Cox said. “My job as a first sergeant is to help my airman. The fact that I can provide meals, I’m delivering the baskets today (last Friday) and to see their faces is kind of like receiving a present. A lot of times, they cry and hug you. A lot of times, it’s a surprise to them that they’re getting the food. It’s very gratifying.”
Roberts, who said the church is “all about community outreach,” would like to give Thanksgiving food donations to Beale Air Force families next year.
“We had a wonderful outpouring of support so I hope it’s a nice new tradition,” Roberts said.
Looking ahead to the Christmas season, Cox said that a Bayside pastor’s son is in the Army and deployed.
“We’re doing a box shipment to send to his son’s unit deployed in Afghanistan,” Cox said.
For more information on helping the church reach its Christmas donation goals, call the church office at 408-8810 or email email@example.com.
“Whenever you give, you get so much back in return. You just feel so fulfilled. You know you’ve done the right thing,” Roberts said. “It’s something good for the soul and it stays with you for the holidays.”
Besides Bayside Lincoln Church, scores of community nonprofit organizations in the area help others year round and always could use more volunteers and donations.
Such as the Salt Mine’s food closet, which is in need of donations every day of the year. To donate to Salt Mine, residents can bring donations to 590 Lincoln Blvd. between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, call 645-3778 or visit thesaltminelincoln.com.
However you donate this month and throughout the year, have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.